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You Can Lead a Politician to Water, But You Can't Make Him Think: Ten Commandments for Texas Politics Hardcover – October 2, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When satirist/novelist/musician Friedman declared his independent candidacy for Texas governor, nobody expected him to win—and he didn't. But he did get nearly 550,000 votes, or 12% of the total cast. He also collected rich material for his sendup of politics in Texas and other jurisdictions. Friedman's always irreverent, sometimes profane and occasionally sophomoric commentary won't appeal to everybody, but even those who refuse to laugh out loud can find verities worth repeating. His chapter about improving schooling for all children, for example, includes the observation that No good teacher wants to teach to the test; no great teacher ever will. The emphasis on classroom assessment, Friedman says, risks creating a whole generation of supposedly college-bound kids who aren't quite sure if the Civil War took place here or in Europe. It wasn't on the test. Given Texans' independent streak, Friedman correctly calculated his messages would get a hearing on the campaign trail. After all, he noted, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura won the governorship of Minnesota. Too bad he lasted only one term, Friedman quips: Ventura never figured out that wrestling is real and politics is fixed. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Kinky Friedman lives in a little green trailer somewhere in the hills of Texas. He has five dogs, one armadillo, and one Smith-Corona typewriter. By the time you are reading this, Mr. Friedman may either be celebrating becoming the next governor of Texas or he may have retired in a petulant snit.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Simon & Schuster Hardcover Ed edition (October 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416547606
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416547600
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,679,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I live in Texas and I am very proud to say that I was one of the 12 % of us here in the Lone Star State who voted for Kinky for governor. Kinky is a true Texan, as this book shows. He loves the state of Texas. His comment that politicians are "by nature shallow and superficial" is very true. In contrast, true Texans have an independent spirit, and that is what makes Texas great. A sense of humor is also what makes Texas great, and Kinky has that, of course, too. How is it that Texas is one of the richest states, and yet, has one of the worst education systems of any state ? (6 % below the other states in pay) ? How is it that we have a dysfunctional death penalty system that makes this state a mockery around not just the U.S., but the world ? We have more people in prison in Texas than there are people in Alaska, as the "Kinkster" points out. How did it come to this ? We allow politicians to jerrymander districts to allow the perpetual re-election of their party ? Is this democracy ? We make casino gambling illegal, even though the typical Texan likes to gamble (they do it in Louisiana). We are a state run by a governor who has almost no power, and a legislature run by lobbies and big money. Kinky's book is full of funny anecdotes about him with Willie Nelson. I remember Kinky at the St. Patrick's Day parade here in Dallas. He was handed a Guiness in the back of a car, and took a couple of sips. One would think the world had ended. Kinky points out how two groups are ruining Texas: the politically correct Left, and the Religious Right. One main theme of the book is, musicians and other Texans are real people, with warmth, humor, and independence. Politicians in Texas are the opposite: superficial and fake. Who can argue with that ?
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Format: Hardcover
It is the American myth that any boy, now girl, can grow up to become President of the United States. It would stand to reason that the same rule applies to Texas. So why couldn't a politically incorrect Jewish country music singer and fiction author toss what he calls his "ten gallon yarmulke" into the ring and become governor of Texas?

"Why the hell not?" became the slogan of Kinky Friedman as he waged his way, way uphill, independent run for the Texas governorship in 2006. YOU CAN LEAD A POLITICIAN TO WATER, BUT YOU CAN'T MAKE HIM THINK is Kinky's chronicle of that campaign. And in the true Kinky way, it is laugh-out-loud funny.

Politics makes strange bedfellows and all that, but 2006 was a strange year even by American standards. Nationwide, the Democratic Party swept into control of Congress on a pledge to end the war. We see how well that worked out. And Kinky sensed the winds of change blowing in the Texas Hill country. Perhaps he could unseat Rick Perry, George W. Bush's successor, in the governor's mansion.

His model was Minnesota, which several years back elected as governor a former wrestler, and California, which elected a former body builder turned actor governor in 2003. Both well-built men waged insurgent campaigns against entrenched professional politicians. Although, as Kinky points out, Jesse Ventura "didn't realize that wrestling is real and politics is fixed."

An independent candidate had not even gotten on the ballot in Texas in 154 years. But this did not deter the Kinkster.

After all, Friedman writes, Texas "has a tradition of singing governors. I thought back to Pappy O'Daniel's successful race for that esteemed office in the 1940's. He had a band called the Light Crust Doughboys. I had a band called the Texas Jewboys.
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Format: Hardcover
Of all the books that The Kinkster" has written;I think this is his best to date.Even if you know what Kinky has been up to over the years;you're going to be amazed at the seriousness behind this man who has been described as "The new Mark Twain". Government in the US and Canada,even more so,has been hyjacked by the Political parties and it is no longer "Government,of the People,by the People and for the People" as intended in a Democracy;but has become Government,of the Politicians,by the Politicians and for the Politicians.
All one has to do is to look around in their community and ask themselves,"Are the people ,chosen by the Parties,the best,and most honest people around to represent us and if not,why aren't they the ones we are voting for?"
Kinky lays it all out in terms that any thinking person can,and will agree with;but the career politicians are so entrenched,and the barriers that are in place to keep it that way;have made it almost impossible for any candidate who wants to buck the "system",and work in the interests of the the People ,versus themselves,is kept from even attempting to seek office.Once in a while,someone tries,but they are ruthlessly attacked by all the establishment,including the Media;and usually defeated.
As you read this book you will be convinced that Friedman was defeated,not because of his ideas ,but by something much greater...APATHY.
The book is filled with one-liners by Kinky himself,that cut through the "wussification" and tells it like it is. Seldom do we see anyone deliver straight talk the way Kinky is able to;possibly with the exception of Mark Twain,and certainly no Politician around today.Then again,how can they talk straight,when they are not being straight with the people or even themselves?
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